53 thoughts on “Contact

  1. Hello Kevin.

    Greetings from Canada.

    I am just wanting to send you kudo’s on this podcast and thank you for hosting it. I know it must be a lot of work in researching and presenting but we listeners appreciate it. I have given the link to the podcast to two friends and they have told me how much they enjoy the podcast too.

    As a map-lover I also appreciate seeing exactly where the locations are that you are speaking about.


  2. Thanks Joyce.

    The maps are prepared by Louis Henwood who volunteers his own time to prepare the maps and support the podcast. I glad you’re enjoying the podcast. And be sure to keep listening!

    Kevin Stroud

  3. Hi Kevin!
    Just wanted to say a big thank you for the podcast. There are not many sources that would present the topic in such a professional and interesting manner. For me – as a person whose first language is not English, but is really into linguistics – this is a very precious source of information; a source that casts a lot of light on why and how the language came to its current shape.

    Thanks a lot!

  4. Highly enjoyable! I do wonder how we know how words were pronounced from the past and how far back does our knowledge extend? Peter from Winnipeg, Canada

    • Peter,

      Historical linguists use a variety of techniques to determine how words were pronounced. When the alphabet was first adopted by various peoples, words were spelled the way they sounded. In fact, there was no standard spelling for most words. So by comparing the various ways in which writers spelled a particular word, linguists can determine the probable pronunciation and even regional dialects. Linguists also closely observe poems which were originally intended to rhyme. The words may no longer rhyme, but the older texts indicate how the words were originally pronounced. There is still a lot of guess work though, so be cautious when someone insists that a word was pronounced a particular way in Old English or some other ancient language.

      Kevin Stroud

  5. Hi Kevin,
    I really enjoy your podcast. I am an English teacher and a history buff, so it hits on both levels, and your podcast is well done. I do have a question though. Where are you from? I can’t place the accent.
    I know the question is a bit of a cheek, but it has been bugging me.

    • Hi Christine,

      I’m from eastern North Carolina. So you’re detecting a southern accent (but as we’ll eventually see – there are actually many southern accents). Glad you’re enjoying the podcast.

      Kevin Stroud

  6. you have created a very nice podcast. the information is quite interesting, especially your Alphabet history that I plan to buy in a few days.

    thanks for all the hard work.

    • Timothy,

      Sorry to disappoint, but it is a stock audio clip called ‘Medieval Faire Loop 2′ by Shawn Pigott. I don’t think it is available as a full audio piece.

      Glad you’re enjoying the podcast.


    • Georgie Lee,

      Thanks for the link. I actually received that link from a couple of other listeners as well. I have decided to add a new tab to the Menu called ‘In the News.’ Since I get links like this from time to time, I am going to start adding them to that page.

      Kevin Stroud

  7. Hi there!

    I just stumbled upon this podcast over the weekend! I am finding it most fascinating. It definitely holds my attention and I am definitely learning a lot. Just finished up the Grimm’s episode. Excited there are so many more.

    Keep up the great work!


    Kelly (Canada)

  8. Hello, Mr. Stroud:

    Just today I discovered your podcast. I’ve gone through three so far. Superb work.

    I have an old book on the history of English that my father bought me. It begins with the Anglo-Saxon period.

    I found your lectures on Proto-Indo-European languages fascinating.

    Thanks you, sir.


    • Frank,

      Thank you for the feedback. The background of ‘pre-English’ is obviously a very big part of the podcast. I wanted to explore how all of the pieces of the English puzzle were connected. Ultimately, the original Indo-European language split into several languages, and then several of those languages came back together to give us modern English. That’s the ultimate theme of the podcast. I’m glad you’re enjoying the story.

      Kevin Stroud

  9. As a late comer to the party I’m playing catch up and thoroughly enjoying listening. Something you may find interesting are these maps comparing what common words are in Europe and their etymology. Thanks to your podcast I can look at them with a critical (educated) eye! Thank you. tww

  10. Hey Kevin,

    Just started listening and hoping to catch up. Each episode is so interesting and enjoyable after hearing one I just want to go for another so might not be problem. It isn’t easy to find good pod-casts so I’m so happy I found your’s.

    I was wondering how come you don’t have any information about yourself on the site?

    Who are you and what do you do?

    Thanks for such great work,


    • Hi Yoni,

      I discussed a little bit about my background in Bonus Episode 1. So you might want to jump ahead and listen to that episode. I will also add a bio at some point on the website, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m glad you’re enjoying the podcast – and be sure to keep listening!.

  11. I am finding your podcasts fascinating. Have just been listening to your bonus episode where you are talking about the development of child and children. I live in North Devon and when I was a child my mother would say something in dialect as in a joke. If someone had had a baby she would say, ‘ Is it a boy or a cheel?’ This brings the question of when cheel or however it is spelt went out of use, she did not use it in normal conversation but she would use it sometimes when she felt we were in need of comfort. Also was it predominantly used for females? The pronunciation of boy was different too, the ‘o’ was more of a ‘u’ sound as in bug. Interesting too to wonder where specific dialect words came from, in the devonshire dialect bees were drumbledrones and foxgloves were cowflops. What a vibrant language we have. Thank you again for your fascinating podcast.

    • Hi Helen,

      The main culprit in the confusing nature of modern English vowels is the 16th century event known as ‘The Great Vowel Shift.’ This period marked a large-scale change in the way English vowels were pronounced. And it is still a source of confusion in many Modern English words. That shift probably accounts for the pronunciation differences between ‘child’ and ‘children.’

  12. I really like the subject and generally enjoy your podcasts, looking forward to them in between releases. I’ve been listening to them faithfully from the beginning, but I think I’ve finally reached a point where I need to offer some mild criticism. In recent episodes, it seems to me that you’ve become increasingly “lost in the weeds.” In the previous episode, to cite just one example, I really didn’t need the detour into the origin of Clovis’ name and the relationship to similar names in other languages. And in the current episode (#33), it took you a half hour of mostly irrelevant church history to get to the point that I learned the monks brought the Roman alphabet to England. C’mon Kevin, just because it’s a podcast doesn’t mean you have to go on without limit on tangential issues. 33 episodes just to get to the first example of written English? Keep it focused, keep it moving or it’s going to be a long hard slog to William the Conqueror and the flood of French into the language.

    • Mike,

      I appreciate the constructive criticism – and I will keep your comments in mind for future episodes. However, I think it is important to note that the church history which I covered in Episode 33 is going to be very important over the next few episodes. It sets the stage for the adaptation of the Roman alphabet to English, Caedomn’s Hymn, the spread of literacy in Northumbria, and the vast number of church-related Latin words which entered English during this period. All of that will be covered in the next couple of episodes.

      Even though the podcast is called the “History of English Podcast,” my overall concept has always been more of a linguistic history of the western world – with English as the primary focus. So I like to explore the connections between English and other languages as well.

      Thanks again for the feedback, and I hope you continue to listen and enjoy the podcast.


  13. In episode 2, @30:45 marks your transition from scholar to politically correct conformist. Referring to the word Aryan you said, “the term is still used in some of the older literature.” You used intonation to shame the older literature as being outmoded. Next you added a second shaming tactic when you said, “and I think you can probably see why the term Indo-European is the preferred term today.” Here, under the presumption that all listeners are indoctrinated with the same anti-German WW2 propaganda, you set up an in-group and out-group. Finally, your intonation really stands out when you said, “It wasn’t until much later that the term came to be used in Europe by Nazis and other racists to refer to supposedly an ideal race of Europeans”. What a distortion.

    The Indo-Europeans: A Documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Wq3CW5Wzi4

    • First, I’m not a ‘scholar’ – I don’t claim to be one. I’m not a professional linguist, nor am I a professor. I’m just presenting what I think is an interesting podcast.

      Secondly, if you have a problem with my statement that the term ‘Aryan’ has fallen out of use because of its association with racism, then I don’t know what to tell you. My statement in that regard has to be one of the least controversial statements in the entire podcast.

      I hope you can enjoy the information presented in the podcast. If not, there are lots of other great books and documentaries on the subject which you might enjoy.

      Kevin Stroud

  14. Hi Kevin,

    I want to thank you for the podcasts. I know this project must require extensive research and time and I appreciate your effort. I love listening to your podcasts, they are the perfect balance of entertaining and informative. Please keep up the great work!

  15. Amazing podcast! I’m an italian student of english who’s not only interested in speaking the language but also in all the different aspects concerning it and I must say that I’ve been really enjoying your work. I’ve listened to a few episodes and you seem to have done a very meticoulous job! I’m hooked.
    Keep it up man.

  16. Kevin,

    Thank you so much for your excellent podcast. I have been listening for many months and have purchased the alphabet history podcast. Your efforts are much appreciated. To that end, may I recommend you put your donations information near the top part of your home and episode pages. Please do not be shy about asking listeners to participate in the production of this amazing podcast. Thanks again.

  17. Do you have plans of writing a book? You have so much here with the podcasts. It would be great to be able to quickly review the concepts especially if accompanied by more great maps, illustrations of writing, archeological photos etc. Thanks for the great podcast.

    • James,

      Yes, I am actually working on a written version of the material presented in the podcast. But it is very slow-going since the podcast itself consumes a lot of my spare time. I hope to have the book ready by the Summer. That should coincide with the transition from Old English into Middle English.

      • Kevin,

        This is something I would definitely be interested in purchasing when you have completed it. From the very early episodes I wondered if you’d ever consider working on a written version of your excellent podcast.

        I totally agree which James E’s comment whereby being able to use a written version would be a great way to quickly review what you are getting across. With so much interesting information in every episode I simply cannot retain it all, therefore a text would be advantageous in accompanying the podcast and something that can be referred to easily at any time.

        I always look forward to every episode, and with the possibility of a written version in the near future, a way to engage this fascinating subject with some of my history friends without messing up details!

        As always, thanks for the great podcast.

  18. Great podcast! I’m only at Episode 3, but so far it really strikes a chord with me. You present information in a clear and organized manner.

    Can you tell me your background? I didn’t see a BIO link on the website.


    • Dan,

      I discuss a bit about my background in the first Bonus Episode (after Episode 7). I am not a professional linguist or historian. I am a practicing attorney who has researched and studied the History of English since college about 25 years ago. This is one of my hobbies, and the podcast is a way for me to share that hobby with others who have a similar interest.

  19. I’m a recent listener, but I love it. The history of language is fascinating to me. I just finished Episode 8, and wanted to mention something – Latvian, the language of my ancestors, retains many archaic features, like the noun declensions everyone else has gotten rid of, but also the extremely uncommon dual form of nouns. It’s present only in some dialects, not mainstream spoken Latvian, but nonetheless it’s something you learn when you learn Latvian grammar.

  20. Just wanted to let you know I really enjoy your podcast – thanks for putting it together!

    Are you familiar with Ken Follett’s book “World Without End”? Sounds like the inspiration for the story you tell at the end of Episode 38.

    Great job!

  21. Hi Kevin. Thanks for the great podcast. In episode 30 the Celtic legacy you mention “bonnick” as meaning a small cake. In Manitoba we use the word “bannock” as referring to a flatbread or cake which is part of Aboriginal cuisine. The native peoples in northern Manitoba were influenced by the Hudson Bay Company beginning about 350 years ago, the HB Co. men often recruited from the Hebrides which no doubt was and still is influenced by Celtic and Gaelic culture. Makes me thinks the two words are cognates. Any thoughts about that?

    • Peter,

      Yes, there is definitely a connection between “bannock” and the original Celtic word. The Celtic word was “bannach” and meant a cake. It passed into Old English as “bannuc” meaning a small bit or piece. That word later produced the word “bannock” which still exists in a few isolated English dialects. I don’t know about the exact connection to Manitoba. The word could have been borrowed from an early English dialect or from a separate Gaelic source. Of course, it could have been borrowed from both. But it definitely derives from that ultimate Celtic root word. Thanks for the question.

  22. Thanks for the podcast, Kevin. I’ve been listening since the beginning and eagerly await each new episode. Actually, I get kind of mad at you for taking so long between episodes! But seriously, it is clearly a ton of research, and I’m content to re-listen to old episodes in between.

    I bet you had no idea what you were getting into when you started this! So glad you did.


  23. Dear Kevin, thank you for putting together this amazing podcast! I’m a huge fan of history and your podcast is just what the doctor ordered! I’m an English teacher and while my focus is on communication or conversational English, I am able to answer so many more of my advanced student’s questions. Sometimes the answers become a whole lesson and we pull out maps too.

    Thank you again for such an amazing podcast!


  24. Hi Kevin, thanks for a great podcast.
    Maybe you’ve mentioned it in an earlier episode, but where does the intro/outro music come from?

    • Thanks for the feedback. The theme music is actually a short clip called ‘Medieval Faire’ by Shawn Piggot. I licensed it through istockphoto.com. I have suggested to Shawn via twitter that he compose it as a full piece. If he does, I will mention it on the podcast for those who are interested.

  25. Kevin,

    Great Show! I have devoured every episode and am sadly at the juncture were I must wait for the new episodes…

    Anyhow, I usually use the Stitcher app to listen to shows, but I had to switch because they don’t carry your show. I want you to know that I have formally put in a request to include your show in their library.

    Thanks for the outstanding episodes and keep up the good work!

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